March 2015 - 7 Night Western Caribbean (Miami Roundtrip) Cruise on Norwegian Epic
Freestyle not really for us but is for others
We enjoyed the cruise. We are more fans of the port days than the sea days. Starting off with two caused some troubles for us at the beginning in that our kids were constantly wanting to be entertained by us and did not want to go to the kids program provided. We forced them on the second sea day and they had a good time but never returned. The entertainment was good. Blue man group was great! The legend of music was good. I paid for premium seating at the Cirque dinner and we had the back table without a view (It wasn't good). Get there early as everyone was seated and eating when we showed up 15 minutes early.
Ports: Ocho Rios: Dunn River falls was great and Tami (our guide) was awesome! We went to the Dolphin encounter first and this was a good experience, but we sat around waiting to spend 15 minutes with the dolphins for a couple of hours. At least they strung out some of the things to see, so we weren't sitting there bored the whole time.
GCM: Our snorkling was cancelled which was disappointing but we had it combined with a beach tour so we went there early. We rented some gear and got some snorkling in there, had our free rum drink and enjoyed the beach. People were friendly and helpful.
Cozemel: We went to the Chaakanuba park. This was the least favorite excursion. The people were very nice and we had some fun. It just felt like we were run through the system and our day was done. Our cost included taxi and entrance into the park along with a free taste of a bean taco and tequila tasting. The first portion of the trip was snorkeling also included but it amounted to starting on one end of the beach, staying in a group and exiting on the other end. We could stay in the water or provide an ID to snorkel later but my kids were already out of the water when I was told I could stay. There was not enough room to enjoy the swim when in the group. All of the beach chairs were already spoken for when we arrived and when we went to the main restaurant to eat we were ignored even though I asked the server if we just sat ourselves and he said yes. He kept running by ignoring us. We went down the way and got food and good service also finding our guide there. The day ends with a ride back to the pier where you can exchange the sticker you got at the beginning of the day for a margarita at Senior Frogs. I was told the snorkeling was great at this location and that is what we will book next time.
Overall the ports were great but we had a short amount of time to enjoy them having to be back onboard at 16:30, 15:30, and 17:30 when we arrived at 8am, 8am (tender), and 10am respectively.
We did have some problems on this newer ship which we have never experienced on other cruises before (6 of them). Three days we woke up to our toilet no functioning as when there is a problem in one section, the whole section is down. On another day we had our shower plug throw up a bunch of black gunk. This was not handled quickly but did not happen again.
The lower level service people were fantastic! Friendly and helpful. Middle management had a few people shine to give them a bad review. Several of them were on their phones reading email and weren't aware or didn't care that they were in the way. The head of security kicked my kids out of the pool on night because he didn't observe a responsible parent. Odd that when I was sitting within six feet of where he would have noticed me he could not observe me or ask my kids where I was before kicking them out. I had a few words with him and left. The pool rules state that under 12 needs parent supervision. I was there and my son is 12. Both kids are excellent swimmers and could stand above the water level. Still irks me.
Our room was too small for four of us. We had a balcony room but I am sure it was the smallest one. There was only a two foot path from the curtain to the balcony door and once the bed was lowered from the ceiling there was about 8 inches. Several heads were hit on this.
It sounds like I am only pointing out the bad, but we decided early this wasn't for us, so I wanted to share why. Overall we had a good time.